...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I’m finally getting little snippets of time to tackle a few smaller projects around the house. Everything is taking me about ten times longer than it should with two kids and a baby around.

This is how the kitchen desk looked after we moved in. It remained that way for nearly four months. There was no thought in the placement of anything; I just threw everything in the cabinets and on the countertop to get it out of boxes. The stacks of papers in the far left upper cabinet are mine and HH’s mail. It’s all mail that we’ve gone through and need to either file away or act on. What a mess!

My goal in organizing the desk area was just that – to organize it. I wasn’t looking to style anything. That will come. We just need it to work first. Basically, I took an entire day to remove everything from the cabinets and drawers, clean the drawers and shelves, then put it all back in a better working order.

Here’s the desk area now…

Like I said, no styling. There are still plenty of empty shelves, baskets, bins and jars for growing. I tried to place things in a way that caters to our daily living.

The left side of the desk area holds items that we use in the kitchen and at the desk. The baskets in the upper cabinet hold our vitamins, batteries, flashlights and a bunch of inspiration images I’ve gathered over the years. And there’s an empty shelf! Yay! That’s gotta be good feng shui or something.

One drawer holds grilling utensils for when our grill lives on the future patio right outside the set of french doors in the kitchen. The other drawer just has my laptop bag in it for now. Eventually, I’ll hang it somewhere and have an empty drawer.

One of my favorite things about the desk area are the outlets that we wired into the backs of the lower cabinets. On the left side of the desk, we plugged in the printer/scanner. No ugly wires to wrangle! The accompanying baskets hold printer paper and computer/printer miscellaneous.

I designated the center desk area for less used kitchen serving ware. I was nervous about storing the heavy china plates on the glass shelves so they stayed on the wood bottom of the cabinet. I mixed in a warm wood utensil caddy to contrast against all the white and glass. The caddy is actually our ‘rainy day caddy.’ It holds pencils, a pencil sharpener, card games for the kids, *washable* markers, etc. I pull it down when the kids are bored and we end up drawing or playing for an hour.

Still no desk stool. I’ve been searching. I think I’m being too picky. I want something comfortable because I’ll use the desk for blogging, designing mood boards, making grocery lists and looking up recipes online. But, so far, all the stools I’ve found that are comfy and in my price range don’t look that great. It’s gotta look good too!

The right side of the desk houses more everyday items such as: my camera, mail, favorite magazine issues, drawing pads, file folders, coupons, note cards, etc. They’re not necessarily kitchen things.

I repurposed a few fabric covered bins as mailboxes for me and HH. My camera bag lives here where it’s easy to reach. My old recipe box {I can’t seem to let it go} and a stack of coasters camp out too. The wooden boxes on the top shelf hold kid puzzle pieces. I like storing toys and kid stuff in decor boxes, bins and baskets instead of the gaudy packaging they come in. They’re easier to live with that way.

Junk drawer no more! I used some plastic drawer organizers I already had to divvy up the junk drawer into more manageable compartments. There are pens, a stapler, scissors, 3M adhesive hooks, packing tape {I hope I never use it again!}, fishing line {for invisibly hanging things}, furniture pads and other common junk drawer oddities. I saved the right drawer for HH’s smaller tools that are hanging out in the house resting from a recent project and waiting to be taken back out to the garage. There’s always something going on around here so tools deserve a kitchen drawer.

The lower cabinet has drawing pads and crayons for the kids {i.e. things I don’t mind them getting out themselves}, a 3-hole punch, note cards, envelopes, our filing system, a coupon folder and a tray of HH’s portable tool batteries and chargers. Again, LOVE the outlet in the cabinet!

With everything in its place, I can breathe a little easier. Now if I could only muster up the energy to tackle the rest of the kitchen. Ha!

Some things I still want to do with the desk area are:

*find a stool already!

*DIY one or more cork/fabric boards to pin notes, inspirational images, fabrics, etc. onto

*set up a charging station for our phones, iPad and laptop

*use a rug to make it feel homier…hopefully not homelier

*style things a bit once it’s all functional

I’ll probably shuffle items around for a while before they find their final resting spot. That’s okay. Tweaking is fun. What corners of your home have you been tweaking lately?

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images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Way to go! It’s the little steps that add up and make a difference. I love that you guys put outlets inside the bottom cabinets… SO smart.


Yep ! Love the outlets inside the cabinets ! And love those upper cabinets (we’re actually considering getting same ones for our own kitchen here, do you like them ?) mixed with old ones for a two-tone kitchen (reminds you of something ?). I’m not tweaking here, I’m building !! Well, a little piece of furniture for the sink in the powder room. I’ll make sure to share a link once it’s done. Take care !


Looking good! I also love your camera bag – where is it from?


Great work. Having three children of my own (6, 2, and 1), I know how hard it can be to carve out some much needed organization time – especially when they aren’t nappers, like my children. Great job! I love your cabinets!

I really like the two tone cabinets (white upper, dark lower). We have a few glass door cabinets and we love them, but it’s a challenge. They always need to look organized when we have company.. or else!


Organizing is so deeply satisfying. I’ve been sorting through all the little piles at our house too. Would you ever think of getting a chair for the desk instead of a stool? I can’t sit for long without a back rest. Maybe something like a ghost chair so it doesn’t take up too much visual space? Or a Tolix chair or stool to coordinate with your barstools?

Looks amazing….now will you come do my house :)


What about a parsons chair instead of a stool?


I can’t wait to see what stool you pick out! The shelves look great. I love the idea above of a Tolix or ghost chair at the desk.


“…ten times longer than it should” Should? Who says and who’s using a stop-watch?! It takes the time it TAKES! And you are doing a fabulous job, Dana. We women are so hard on ourselves (but I’m working on it!).

I wanted to mention that Ikea has plastic drawer inserts like their cutlery ones but with smaller spaces sized perfectly for ‘junk’. I bought a few and really love them.


We got this chair last year at an estate sale: http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Furniture-Mobile-Ergonomic-Kneeling/dp/B000TMFSQK
I’d like to recover the cushions in something cute, and maybe paint it too. But it’s good for your back and tucks away under our desk, which I like. My 2 year old also uses it as his “car”- he sits on the knee part and rolls around our living room.


By stool I meant counter stool – not necessarily something without a back. I would actually prefer a counter stool with a back for longer periods of sitting. The desk countertop is counter height so a standard chair won’t work. Still looking…


Oh, I see what you mean. What about this one from West Elm http://www.westelm.com/products/rustic-barstool-g294/?pkey=ccounter-bar-stools
It would pick up the gorgeous wood tones in the island (but maybe isn’t comfy enough?)
Good luck on your search!


I am on the hunt too for a kitchen desk stool. Cant wait to see what you find! Love your camera bag! Where did you get it from?


You have the coolest camera bag ever. I have major camera-bag-envy.


so so smart about the electrical outlets built inside the cabinets. To make wires vanish – such a dream!


I love your camera bag! Where did you find it? thanks!


You know me too well! That one is on the list. It would be a total splurge so I’m feeling out all my options before I pull the trigger on something that pricey. But, lordy, wouldn’t it look great?


LOVE your camera bag!! Can we get a source on where you got it?



[…] always planned on adding a backsplash to the desk area in the kitchen. Without a backsplash, the upper cabinets looked odd and disconnected floating on the large wall. I knew a backsplash […]


Few questions for ya, ;-)
How much of a gap did you leave between the cabinet/counter and the wall (on the left hand side) and if you could do it again would you leave that gap or tuck it tight to the wall?

I’m building a similar desk in my kitchen and was thinking about holding it away form the corner like you did.



The gap is ~4″ from the base cabinet and ~2″ from the countertop. Personally, we like it sitting out from the wall. With the planked backsplash, it feels like one big hutch. In another context, maybe we would prefer it tucked up against the wall. I stash foam boards (for photo backdrops) in the space between the wall and cabinets so that’s kinda nice, too. One thing to remember is you have to install the plinth (toe kick) at the bottom of the base cabinet by the wall. We held off on doing it and our new cat wiggled her way under the cabinet. Looks like we’ll be adding the plinth now!


Awesome, thanks so much for the reply. My thought is to create a furniture look as well. I’m even considering the Stainless legs ( http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20054563/ ) to give it a less built in look. (and pull stainless accents from the appliances on the other side of the kitchen.)